Bay Journal

Chesapeake Notebook

News, notes and observations from the Bay Journal staff.

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Greens fault McAuliffe’s record so far on climate change, clean energy

A coalition of activist groups is giving Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe poor grades on climate change and clean energy, accusing him of failing to live up to his campaign pledges in his first two years in office.

Calling McAuliffe a “significant disappointment,” the groups rated the Democrat a D-plus overall, faulting him especially for the state’s handling of coal-ash disposal and a proposed natural gas pipeline.

“Climate leadership, at its core, means keeping fossil fuels in the ground, not lobbying for decades’ more reliance on fracked gas and offshore oil drilling,” Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network said in a telephone press conference. Other groups joining in the report card’s release were Virginia Organizing, the Virginia Student Environmental Coalition, and Interfaith Power & Light.

Jeff Day
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Baltimore student activist honored for fight against trash-burning power plant

A young Baltimore woman who’s helped lead a grassroots fight against a trash-burning power plant in her community has been honored with a top environmental prize for her efforts.

Destiny Watford is one of six recipients of this year’s Goldman Environmental Prize, which every year honors environmental activists from around the world.  They will be recognized Monday night at a ceremony in San Francisco, and again two days later at an event in Washington. D.C. Each winner receives a $175,000 cash award “to pursue their vision of a renewed and protected environment,” according to the prize web site.

As a high school senior, Watford saw “Enemy of the People,” a play about a community poisoned by pollution, and decided to try to do something about what she and others saw as an environmental threat to the industrialized Curtis Bay neighborhood where she grew up.  A New York-based company, Energy Answers International, had received state and local approvals several years ago to build a 160-megawatt power plant in nearby Fairfield – less than a mile from schools – that would use as fuel shredded trash, tires and car parts.

Timothy B. Wheeler
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Lake Bonnie pollution case heads back to court

The one-time owner of a Caroline County campground who lost her livelihood because of septic pollution from a nearby town is inching closer to getting a trial on whether she can seek damages against the town and also the state of Maryland for failing to enforce environmental laws.

In February, Maryland’s highest court ruled that Gail Litz -- whose family owned the 140-acre Lake Bonnie property for decades -- could pursue her claim that she lost it to foreclosure in 2010 because of the state's failure to make the town of Goldsboro stop pollution from its failing septic systems. The septic systems are still failing, nearly 40 years later, though a plan is in place now to pipe the town’s waste to a sewage treatment plant in the next few years.

The Court of Appeals had already ruled the case could proceed against the town.  But after its ruling against the state, the court considered once again appeals from both the town and the state to dismiss the case.

Rona Kobell

Picture This

Tips from veteran Chesapeake Bay photographer Dave Harp about how to capture the perfect images from your outdoor travels.

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Pond paddle provides lovely setting for photos

I always try to get out and make some photos on the solstices and equinoxes,  and an assignment to illustrate a story about Trap Pond allowed me to chase the morning light there a few hours after this year’s Autumnal equinox.   It’s an amazingly beautiful patch of wild Delaware near Laurel and will be featured in the November issue of the Bay Journal.   The pond, created in the 18th century to power a saw mill to convert the trees into board feet of lumber,  is the epicenter of the northern most stand of bald cypress trees in the United States.   The relatively young trees in the middle of the pond were planted in the 1930’s when the water level  was drawn down to allow the trees to grow.    Once they’re heads are above the water they seem to do fine in an aquatic environment.  Be sure to look for a more complete story about Trap Pond State Park by Tom Horton in the November issue of the Bay Journal.

David Harp
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Want to take some really cool photos?

Bundle up and take advantage of the opportunities for great photos provided the the crisp air, and low angle of sunlight, during winter months.

David Harp
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Photographers’ reliable “standby”

While cameras have changed much over the past century, one ingredient of good photos has remained largely the same — the tripod.

David Harp

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